|The Female of the Species (standard:science fiction, 3538 words)|
|Author: Otzchiim||Added: Sep 16 2000||Views/Reads: 3899/1841||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|What Dr. Franklin had done seemed odd at first, then scandalous, then wonderful in a terrifying way.|
Otzchiim@aol.com THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES I knew of Dr. Donald Franklin primarily as a colleague in the area of infertility treatment. I had met him at professional meetings perhaps a half-dozen times in my ten years of practice. After his sudden death from a massive myocardial infarction, I was asked to take over his list of patients as best I could, and also to evaluate and prepare for archiving the papers from his twenty- five year career in the field. I discovered that Dr. Franklin had not only kept up with the advances in genetic research which are inevitably of interest to anyone in our specialty, but that he had performed much such research on his own. Many years before he had maintained a fair- sized collection of animals and his work with them was not duplicated until long after, by those whose names are now associated with it. Why he had not published was not clear; I could only surmise at first that he simply regarded the actual preparation of the papers as drudgery. Further study suggested another explanation. One would expect that a physician, especially one specializing in such a delicate matter as helping infertile couples, would be kindly and sensitive if not outright saintly. Probably most are. But there was the case of the doctor in Virginia whose administration of artificial insemination often used his own sperm in place of the husband's. And Dr. Donald Franklin had done something which might have been much worse than that, as I shall show. Aside from the expected records of achieved pregnancies and births, Dr. Franklin had a special file of detailed long-term follow-ups on a dozen children in the Baltimore area, all twenty-odd years in the past. Most of these were straightforward cases of collecting and using the husband's semen but a few involved donations from medical students where the husband was sterile. He explained the follow-ups to the parents as a study of all his cases, to determine if the artificial insemination affected the health of children in any way. By no means all his cases were actually studied, of course. And most of the children represented by the files lived less than a year. All these children retained at birth the body-hair which ordinarily disappears a few months before, but all of them lost it soon afterward. Retention of this hair is of course not really an abnormal thing, however distressing it may be to new parents. Easily the thickest of these folders concerned a female child named Rita Riley. She had been an ordinary little girl, a bit wild but not remarkably so. She was very much of a tomboy but only a little more so than her mother had been, or so the mother felt. Everything was quite prosaic until about eight months after Rita's fifteenth birthday. On a Saturday morning in April, someone reported to the police hearing voices and noises from a house in the Riley's area which had been closed up since the last owner died three months before. The investigating patrolman found the back door forced open and slightly ajar. The downstairs was empty, and he followed the sound of voices to an upstairs bedroom. There he found Rita Riley with eight boys. The policeman told her parents that Rita was "pulling a train". They did not know the phrase, and soon wished that they had not asked for an explanation. For another year and a half, Rita's parents fought a war with her, with long cease-fires. For the spring and summer of that year and the next, she would disappear from their house and return hours later. Usually she would meet boys whom she knew and have violent sex with them. But sometimes she would pick men up on the street. These wild spells lasted only a day or so at a time, and then she would be normal and well-behaved again. September brought an end to that activity until the following spring. Her parents caved in and had birth-control pills prescribed for her. She was lucky enough to avoid venereal disease. Click here to read the rest of this story (312 more lines)
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